Severus of Ravenna

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Severus of Ravenna

The holy Severus (* in Ravenna ; † February 1 344/346 ibid) was from about 342 to about 344/346 Bishop in Ravenna.


According to legend, a new bishop was to be elected in Ravenna at Pentecost 342. (In the early church the bishop was elected by the whole congregation.) When the actually uninvolved wool weaver Severus came to the election, a dove flew in, circled over him and sat three times on his shoulder. The congregation saw this as a divine sign and chose him as bishop.

Only his participation in the Council of Serdica (342/343) is considered historically secure .

Severus was buried in 344 in Classe , the now defunct port of Ravenna. His bones were first brought to Mainz and finally to Erfurt in 836 by Archbishop Otgar von Mainz .

St. Severus' feast day is February 1st, the day of his death. He is the patron saint of weavers and spinners , policemen , cloth , stocking , glove and hat makers .

Severi's sarcophagus

Severi's sarcophagus in Erfurt

The stone sarcophagus of St. Severus with his wife and daughter ( Vincentia and Innocentia ) is in the Severikirche in Erfurt . There, his bones were probably buried and venerated in the western part of a previous building of the church. When the church was rebuilt, it was also necessary to redesign the tomb, which was still in a central location, probably near the west choir. The west choir was badly destroyed in the fire in 1472, then the tomb was dismantled and the side panels were put up elsewhere. The original cover plate was used after 1472 as an attachment for the Severus altar in the south arm of the transept. It was not until 1948 that the parts were put back together and placed at this point, and in 1982 a cast of the cover plate was added.

The sarcophagus is one of the most artistically significant pieces of equipment in Severikirche. The four relief panels of the surrounding walls were made between around 1360 and 1370. A source from 1363 names a new altar in honor of John the Baptist , Severus ', Hieronymus ' and the Three Kings. Scenes from the life and work of Saint Severus and the adoration of the Magi based on a model in the Nuremberg Lorenz Church from 1360 are depicted on the almost fully plastic high reliefs . It has also been assumed that the individual parts were only combined into a tumba some time after their creation and that they were previously in the church interior individually or in other context, perhaps as parts of a rood screen with ambo .


Severus is often depicted with the dove or a walker tree.


Several churches are dedicated to St. Severus in Germany:

In the baptistery of the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna there is a mosaic that shows the saint with a dove on his shoulder. See also: Severikirche

Editions of the Vita of St. Severus and explanatory writings

  • Catalogus Sanctorum etc. by Petrus de Natalibus , Lyon 1508.
  • Sermo de S. Severo auctore Petro Domiani ap. Surius, De prob. SS. Historiis, 1. Febr. VII, Cologne 1581, p. 81.
  • Sanctorum historiae by Laurentius Surius, Cologne 1586. Breviarium dicendarum horar. canonic. ad usum Colleg. Sever.
  • Rubeus, Historiae Raven. Venet. 1590.
  • Vitae sanctorum: "Life of Saint Severi / Bishop of Ravenna / who differed around the year of Christ 390", Haraeus, Franziskus, Vitae sanctorum, 1611, p. 108/109. (Text in appendix)
  • Fabri, Le sacre memoriae di Rav., Venet 1664.
  • AASS (Acta Sanctorum, ed. Bollandus), Acta f. Severus, ep. Ravennat, Feb. I (Aw 1658), 79 91.
  • Agnelli liber pontificalis Ravennat. III., 1708, p. 9, Vita S. Severi ep. auct.
  • Leven van den H. Severus bisschop van Ravenn, patroon der Lynen wolle wewers, Antwerp 1767.
  • Josephi Aloysii Amadesi, Chronotaxis Antistitum Ravennatum cum notis L. Bertoldi et. A. Zannoni, Faventiae 1783. 3 vol.
  • Fantuzzi, Monumenta Rav. Venet. 1801.
  • LThK (2nd ed.), (Lexicon for Theology and Church), IX, 704.
  • Vita et translatio Sancti Severi auctore Liutolfo presbytero . In: Georg Waitz , Wilhelm Wattenbach u. a. (Ed.): Scriptores (in Folio) 15.1: Supplementa tomorum I-XII, pars III. Supplementum tomi XIII pars I. Hannover 1887, pp. 289–293 ( Monumenta Germaniae Historica , digitized version )
  • Agnelli liber pontificalis ecclesiae Ravennatis . De sancto Severo . In: Ludwig Bethmann, Georg Waitz (eds.): Scriptores rerum Langobardicarum et Italicarum saec. VI-IX. Hanover 1878, pp. 283–287 ( Monumenta Germaniae Historica , digitized version )
  • Jaffé, Bibliotheca rerum Germanicarum Tom. Tert. Monumenta Moguntia, Berolini apud Weidmannos, 1866, p. 507.
  • BHL II ( Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina antiqua et mediae aetatis, ed. Socii Bollandiani, 2 vols., Brussels 1898 to 1901; Suppl.edito altera, ib. 1911.), No. 7679-84.
  • Chevallier, M., Répertoire des sources historiques du moyen âge. Bio Bibliography, Paris II, 1907, col. 4222.
  • Bibl. SS (Bibliotheca Sanctorum, ed. Pontificia Universitá Lateranense, 13 vol., Rome I, 1961 ff.) XI 997–1001.
  • On the “daughter” of Innocentia: “Innocentia of Rimini”, in: Bibl. SS, VII, 834.
  • Andreas, Liber pontificalis sive vitae Pontif. Ravann.
  • Bibliotheca Casinensis III, Floril. p. 55.
  • Translation in: Mabillon, Acta SS. Ord. S. Bened. Saec IV., 2, p. 61.
  • Miraculum S. Severi et Rubei hist. Raven. lib. 2 Acta: SS 1. Febr. I, p. 87.
  • Aliud miraculum ex Petro Dom. sev. 2. ibid. P. 88
  • Potthast, Bibliotheca hist. II, p. 1572.
  • Wattenbach, Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen I, p. 242.
  • "Vita Sancti Severi Archiepiscopi Et Confessoris", in: Mombritius, Boninus, Sanctearium seu Vitae Sanctorum II, Hildesheim N4 1978, reprint of the Paris 1910 edition, pp. 504–505.

(This list of sources taken over / quoted from: Wäß, 2006, Volume 1, p. 500 f. / References to other sources, including by Künstle 1926, note 17; Oppermann 1878, p. 2, Clemen 1916, p. 483, Note 17)


  • Otto Buchner: The Severi sarcophagus in Erfurt and its artist. In: Messages of the association for the history and antiquity of Erfurt. Volume 24, Erfurt 1903, pp. 137–157.
  • Otto Buchner: The Severi sarcophagus in Erfurt and its artist including the translation of the Vita and Translatio Sancti Severi of the priest Liutolf. Erfurt 1903.
  • The city of Erfurt, cathedral. Severikirche. Peterskloster. Citadel. Edited by Karl Becker, Margarethe Brückner, Ernst Haetge, Lisa Schürenberg and Alfred Overmann . Castle 1929.
  • B. Hanftmann: On the building history of the Beatae Mariae Virginis collegiate church (cathedral) and the Severi collegiate church in Erfurt. Yearbooks of the Royal Academy of Non-Profit Science in Erfurt. Erfurt 1913.
  • Edgar Lehmann : Cathedral and Severikirche in Erfurt. Leipzig 1988.
  • Rolf-Günther Lucke, Hans-Heinrich Forberg: The Severikirche in Erfurt. Munich, Regensburg 1993 (The Christian Monument).
  • Ernst Schubert, Edgar Lehmann: Cathedral and Severikirche Erfurt. Stuttgart 1988.
  • Claus Mertens: The Severikirche in Erfurt. (= Large architectural monuments booklet 27.) o. O. 1957.
  • Claus Mertens: The Severi Church in Erfurt. (= The Christian Monument 27.) 7th edition. Berlin 1979.
  • Walter Passarge: Cathedral and Severikirche in Erfurt. In: Ludwig Roselins (ed.): German art. Volume II. Bremen, Berlin 1936.
  • Michael Stuhr: Severi's sarcophagus. In: The Parler and the Beautiful Style. Volume II. P. 564.
  • Helga Wäß: Form and Perception of Central German Memory Sculpture in the 14th Century. Volume 2: Catalog of selected objects from the High Middle Ages to the beginning of the 15th century. Bristol et al. a. 2006. For the Severi sarcophagus see: catalog nos. 255, 256 on pp. 285-291 (2 columns) / Volume 1, source editions on St. Severus: pp. 485-489. ISBN 3-86504-159-0
  • Ekkart SauserSeverus. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 9, Bautz, Herzberg 1995, ISBN 3-88309-058-1 , Sp. 1527-1529.

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